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  CSPAN    American Perspectives    News/Business. Historical and  
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    September 4, 2010
    11:00 - 2:00am EDT  

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nuclear threats. we concluded that the world was on the process of a new and very dangerous nuclear era. we -- the approach we advocated was placed onto tanks. second, outlining specific, urgent steps to reduce nuclear dangers and make a vision of a world without nuclear weapons are reality. -- a reality. we concluded that without the bold vision, the actions will not be perceived as urgent around the globe, and without action, the vision will not be perceived as possible. we understood that ending nuclear weapons as a threat to the world will be long and difficult. from my perspective, the goal of a world without nuclear weapons as like the top of a very tall mountain. it is tempting to look up and say, we cannot get there from
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here. in today's troubled world, it is true we cannot see the top of the mountain. we can see we are heading down and not up. we can see we must turn around and take the path to higher ground and we must get others to move with us. a little background. the threat. it is changing. since the end of the cold war, while the chances of an all-out global nuclear war have declined significantly, thank god, i think the chances of a nuclear strike have increased. during the cold war, the american, nato, and soviet military's were diligent and professional in the way we handle our nuclear-weapons. but we were also very lucky. we had several near misses, including but not limited to the cuban missile crisis. if we think that our luck will
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hold out with nine nuclear states and growing, plus the spread of technology to enrich the new clear -- and rich uranium, i think the world must think i knew. nine countries have nuclear weapons now. more are seeking them. terrorists are seeking nuclear weapons and nuclear. -- and i have no doubt that certain groups would use them if they had them. the know-how and capability to build a nuclear weapon is widely available, something we thought would only be the province of nations years ago. but it has changed. with the goal of nuclear power,
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and we will be talking about this more this week, more nations are seeking the opportunity to enrich uranium and deplete plutonium. the same technology required to enrich uranium for nuclear fuel, which every nation has the right to, can enrich uranium if taken to higher levels, to make a nuclear bomb. have you stop a world along with - nhoy -- how a new cyber world with nuclear submarines? increased challenges to warning systems and command and control systems for all nuclear weapon countries. each of these dangers is either new or has worsened since the cold war. each one heightens the risk of the others. together, they create the conditions for what i would call a perfect storm. nuclear terrorism is not only a threat to life and property. it is a threat to our way of life.
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if a nuclear bomb were detonated in a city somewhere in the world, the challenge to our cherished freedoms would be profound, given the understandable demands for increased security, as i have no doubt a terrorist group would claim to have and demand certain conditions were not setting them off. this does not mean with all the challenges, and they are serious, this does not mean, however, a catastrophe is inevitable. not all the clouds are dark. world leaders are beginning to attend the five halves that lead up the mountain. in 2008, in the presidential campaign, both then-senator barack obama and john mccain and vision and embraced the vision of working toward a world free of nuclear weapons as well as practical steps toward that goal. last year president obama in the czech republic and said the
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-- senator mccain on the senate floor reaffirmed the statements they made during the campaign. very significantly, president obama and russian president did it give -- medvedyev called for a world without nuclear weapons. the u.s. and russia controlled 90% of the nuclear weapons and most of the nuclear materials. president obama was joined by the rest of the members of the security council in agreeing to negotiate a treaty ending production of volatile material for nuclear purposes and to work -- fissile material for weapon purposes and to work toward fulfilling article 6 of the nuclear treaty. it calls for nuclear weapons disbarment -- disarmament.
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you will hear from our colleague from the u.n. this afternoon on that important subject, and others. the nuclear agenda continues to move in 2010. in april, president obama and president mmiff if -- mid did give me did you -- medvedyev affirmed their commitment. if ratified by the united states senate, which is likely to occur this year, and ratified by the russian federal assembly, the treaty will reestablish american and russian leadership and cooperation on nuclear efforts. they reaffirmed the debarked largest -- the two largest nuclear powers are dedicated to reducing their own nuclear arsenals. it will also provide for the monitoring and verification of u.s. and russia's forces, the only verification measure we would have left it is ratified. -- have been effective it is ratified. it would provide the groundwork for further cooperation between the united states and russia. there is other progress. in april of this year, over 40
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heads of state headed to washington, d.c. for a summit on securing nuclear materials. they agreed to work together to assess the threat of nuclear terrorism by securing or eliminating stockpiles of nuclear materials and the supporting international measures to increase a nuclear security worldwide. but the foundation that i had come out of the nuclear threat -- at the foundation that i head called the nuclear threat initiative, initiative, was particularly -- the nuclear threat initiative, was particularly pleased with these developments. we have a long way to go. when i say we, i mean the world, not just the united states. if we can secure all weapons, a usable nuclear material around the globe, we can prevent catastrophic nuclear terrorism. so, the good news is the world
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is identify and a number of -- is identifying a number of pas ths paths that would leave out tomorrow. -- lead up the mountain. however, we face significant obstacles, leading to the top. including a couple of avalanches by the name of iran and north korea. our top, front runner challenge is to mobilize strong, international response and opposition to nuclear programs in these countries. cooperation on a much deeper and a broader front than has happened so far is the central to stopping their nuclear ambitions without a war. fortunately, we have recently made progress with the un security council, testing new sanctions on iran, and taking actions to condemn an attack on a south korean naval base will -- naval vessel, which in international commission -- an international commission determined was conducted by
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north korea. china is a key to pressuring north korea. these positive steps are small ones. iran and north korea remain intractable and dangerous challenges that must be solved. this is not just a u.s. challenge. it is a global challenge, and the challenge to the effectiveness of the united nations, whose mandates they are defying. the next most significant challenges are debate in the senate over the new start treaty. the s.t.a.r.t. treaty. it could take place in the next couple of weeks. senate debate will reveal whether the senate understands the nuclear threat has fundamentally changed since the end of the cold war. this new treaty as an forcefully -- has been forcefully advocate advocated be obama administration, including secretary of defense robert
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gates, are top military leaders, -- our top military leaders, and the joint chiefs of staff, as well as former secretaries of state and former secretaries of defense slow center and perry. -- schlesinger and perry. and also. served under both president bush 49 and 51. there is broad support for this treaty across party lines. this is a big but. this treaty has strong critics in both the united states and russia. still with us, in both washington and moscow. in my view, the opposition this is the bigger picture the united -- the opposition misses the bigger picture. today, the united states and russia must work together on a wide range of security issues that are vital to the protection of our citizens in both countries. specifically, it is essential for preventing catastrophic
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terrorism. for energy security and environmental progress. for euro-atlantic security. for stemming the spread of north korean weapons to -- of nuclear weapons to north korea and iran, for addressing deep instability in afghanistan and avoiding conflict in the middle east, preventing conflict in central asia, and a more stable and non-nits their korean -- and non-nuclear korean peninsula, which also, as i mentioned, most have vigorous support from china. -- must have vigorous support from china. i need each of these cases, cooperation between the united states and russia is not just important. it is vital. if the new start treaty is -- s.t.a.r.t. treaty is ratified, our hope of establishing a more cooperative relationship with russia improves. the opposition seems to be
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missing this important context in both the united states and russia. the debate so far, and there is not too much humorous about nuclear matters, that -- but the debate reminds me of the story about charlotte homes and dr. -- sherlock holmes and dr. watson who were on a camping trip. after a heavy meal and a bottle of wine,they crawled into their tent and went to sleep. several hours later, holmes awoke with these words. "tell me what you see." watson said, i see millions and millions of stars. "what does that tell you?" "that there are potentially billions of planets. it and the time is approximately -- astrological, i
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observe that saturn is in leo. i observe that the time is approximately a quarter past three." "what does it tell you?" "watson, you idiot, someone has stolen our tent." [laughter] well, watson had of his facts -- all of his facts right, but he missed the big picture, because he was not focused on what changed. there has been a dramatic and drastic change in the nuclear threat. since we and russia develop the arsenal, policies, and doctrines that still govern nuclear- weapons today,if we or the russians followed the advice of unreformed cold war strategy, both our tents are -- cold war riors, both ourar year
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tents are likely to be stolen in the years ahead. a strong non-party vote in favor of the new start treaty could create a new and much needed non-partisan foundation to nuclear arms reduction. i am cautiously optimistic that this important and modest step will be taken. the third near term challenge to our pathway up the mountain is the adoption of a new nato strategic concept. for the first time in a decade, the nato alliance has taken a hard look at its mission and its purpose. the countries are defining and recommiting to a common defense under the guidance of the secretary general assessing what has changed in the east -- what has changed in this post- cold war time. also a post-9/11 period. nader should demand the alliance reevaluate longstanding u.s. and nato nuclear policy, u.s. tactical weapons deployed in europe, and the role of nuclear weapons in nato's
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security. russia for a large number of -- russia's large number of small, short-range tactical weapons must be part of the discussion. these weapons are transportable and they are small enough to put in baggage, and they are the dream of a terrorist. much more dangerous to russia and europe than they are any kind of protection. russia has most of them. the fundamental question that nato has not come to grips with, but is beginning to discuss -- and in the years ahead, do we want russia to be inside or outside the atlantic security? the same question must be answered by the russian. -- the russians. we must not get trapped in a cold war-looking backward kind of atmosphere. nor ignore obvious changes, as
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sherlock holmes would tell us. winston churchill said, more than once, but i think it is applicable to native today. no matter how beautiful the strategy, you must occasionally look at the results. i believe that nato, the united states, and russia, and other nations must look at the trajectory and results of our current policies and we must think anew if we are going to protect our citizens. on the nuclear securities side of the ledger, almost 20 years after the breakup of the soviet union, would continue to live with the risk of catastrophic nuclear accidents that is unfortunately > 0 and much higher than it should be after the end of the cold war. the u.s. and russia should pursue steps to increase warning time and decision time for u.s. and russian leaders. it makes no sense whatsoever 20 years after the end of the cold
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war that the president of russia and the president of the united states to have only a few precious minutes to decide whether to launch their new weapons in the event of getting a warning from their generals which could be a false alarm. not many think about it. not many people think about it. but when you really look closely at our security position, and the russians', we each have a stake in the other side's warning systems. it a mistake by russia is fatal for us and them, and vice versa. that is not acceptable 20 years after the cold war. things can be done about it. cooperation on missile defense should also be a high priority and could indeed be a game changer. this was president ronald reagan's dream many years ago. it did not become a reality. today, there is a chance to
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could really work with russia on missile defense. military-2-military discussions arenuclear threats are not just between the united states in russia. we must also include china and other nuclear nations in our nuclear thinking as well as our dialogue. we need to exchange views with china about nuclear policies and programs including, but not limited to, missile defense. this dialogue could improve confidence, transparency and trust in ways that will increase safety in asia and around the globe. if we succeed in eliminating nuclear dangers, a truly global enterprise will be required, for many nations are not sitting on the sidelines and and critiquing, but cooperating. this cannot be a unilateral mission. we must work together. in addition to securing all weapons, we must develop a
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global approach to the problems of enrichment and reprocessing. we must ratify the nuclear weapons ban treaty. we must negotiate a multilateral and verifiable treaty which would end the production of fissile material used for nuclear weapon purposes. when the strengthen provisions -- we must strengthen provisions with international monitoring and verification activities. and we must, most importantly build the political will to respond precisely to any attempt -- quickly and decisively to any attempt to cheat. in the first to it meant that -- i am the first to admit that this lofty goal raises a lot of questions, and also, i certainly believe the skeptics play an important role. there are a lot of tough and legitimate questions. there are some who believe the mountain is too high and the fog is too thick, and the air is too thin. but these questions -- these
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are questions for are skeptical colleagues to consider. with the fog be lifted if united -- would some of the fog be lifted if the united states and russia work together to increase warning and decision time, as well as missile defense? it would be designed to deduct against limited attacks or accidents. would we have a better vantage point to view the mound top if we and other nations were and succeed -- work and succeed to limit nuclear material, developing international assurances and guarantees of fuel supplies for civil purposes, which would take away the excuse of additional nations going into enrichment? with the high peaks look more -- would the high peaks look more reachable if it will succeed in working to get their -- together, and would we develop verification methods to enforce the non-proliferation treaty?
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would we gain a fresh supply of oxygen if we got a break through settlement on the middle east and the world, addressing other -- and the world begins cooperating in addressing other regional conflicts. these steps are all essential, with or without a vision of a world without nuclear weapons. big step in this process will build confidence -- each step in this process will build confidence. this would increase cooperation at each step. it would make our citizens and the world citizens safer. i call the achievements of the steps base camp. each of these goals is essential to protect america's security. we have to reach base camp before we have a clear view of
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the top of the mountain. it must be carefully considered, including managing residual nuclear capability and the possibility of reconstituting nuclear forces. secretary shultz, secretary kissinger, secretary perry, and myself hope we are beginning to create a sufficient political stage so that the brightest young minds and our government challenges -- take time on these challenges. these are long-term and may have to be thought about now. the four of us do not in any way pretend we have all the answers. the critics have them. it must be challenging not simply a question though, butwe
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must consider our current base line and trajectory. the nuclear world we live in is full of perils and dangers. i believe we have a growing number of nuclear states. we dare not expect nuclear deterrence to work in perpetuity. an article in this january's issue of scientific american describes the impact that would, on our -- that would come in a regional nuclear war between india and pakistan. the models indicate that a new conflict between india and pakistan -- more than 20 million people in each of the countries would die in the blast, smoke from the fires would cover all the continents would then draw -- which in -- within two weeks, and stay in
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the stratosphere for least a decade. it would diminish some might come but shortened growing seasons, unseasonable frost, and more ultraviolet radiation would harm crops. yields would decline around the world, bringing to a halt most food trade. 1 billion people worldwide with marginal food supplies would die of starvation because of the ensuing agricultural collapse. this article was based on a super computer model by scientists. even with a discount, you can see the moral imperatives and the moral questions be faced. the old war game framework of we win, you lose is tragically naive when it applied to a nuclear conflict. no one wins. john brown campbell in a marvelous sermon yesterday morning reminded us that we are
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all god's children. one flock, one shepherd. uranium may be god's ultimate test for mankind. we can use it to advance living standards, or we can use it to destroy god's universe. so, to the skeptics and indeed all of us this week, i pose these questions. how can we defend america and the world from a nuclear catastrophe without taking each essential step? alchemy take these steps without-- how can we take these steps without the cooperation of other nations? how can we get the cooperation of other nations without the vision and goal that the world will someday end these weapons as a threat to mankind? in my view, we cannot. the institute has lined up an impressive set of speakers this week. through all the conversations, i hope you will keep asking
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yourself a couple of the fundamental questions that keep me going. if the unthinkable happened, if the city in the united states or somewhere else was destroyed by a nuclear weapon, the day after the attack, what would we wish we had done to prevent it? second question -- why are we not doing it now? i leave you with the parable of hope. after the collapse of the soviet union, after they began dismantling nuclear warheads, we struck an agreement. it was called the u.s.-russia highly-enriched uranium deal. three countries gave up all of their nuclear weapons, and these countries had more nuclear weapons than britain, france, and china combined. ukraine, kazakhstan, and belarus. they gave them all up. under this agreement which was primarily with russia and
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ukraine -- it was signed in 1993. 500 tons of highly enriched uranium from former soviet nuclear weapons continues today, being blended down to low-enriched uranium and used as nuclear fuel and power plants in the united states. shipments began in 1995 and will continue until 2013. not many people know about it. not many people know about it. when you calculate that 20 percent of all the electricity in the united states come from nuclear power plants, and 50% of the fuel comes from russia and ukraine it through the heu agreement, you have an interesting fact. one of every 10 a light pulse -- lightbulbs is powered by materials that were in the soviet nuclear warheads pointed at the united states not many years ago.
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who would have thought this possible in the 1950's, 1960's, 1970's, or 1980's? it would have been seen as a mountain too high to climb, and even base camp with up and lost in the clouds. -- would have been lost in the clouds. my bottom line -- we are in a race between cooperation and destruction. this is a war -- this is our race that mankind must win. 20 years ago, president ronald reagan of an audience to imagine -- asked an audience to imagine that "all of us discovered we were threatened by a power from outer space, from another planet. would you come together to fight this particular threat?" he let the audience consider. "we now have a weapon that can destroy the world. why do we not come together and
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consider how safely, seemly, and quickly can we ended this threat to our existence?" if we want our grandchildren to see the man on top, we must in-- to see the mountain top, we must end this threat in our generation. thank you. [applause] thank you. thank you. [applause] thank you very much. thank you thank you -- thank you, thank you. thank you very much. thank you. >> ladies and gentlemen, excuse me, i know some of you need to
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go on to other events. if you will do so quietly, the rest of us well appreciated. -- will appreciate it. before we began the question and answer period, i would like to do something i wanted to do at the beginning, and that is to acknowledge that sam nunn's sister and his wife are in the audience. if you would stand, we will acknowledge your presence, and thank you for being here. [applause] we were talking about how you get to know this area. betty and gene got here by giving in to the haggling of friends over a long period of time. we're very glad to have you. for those of you who are staying, questions will be collected by our ushers. kate and i will do the best we
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can still represent a. -- can to represent them. the first question is on up broader topic, but not iselevant -- senator nunn, i the u.s. senate a broken institution? [laughter] [applause] >> my father-in-law used to say, "i ain't broke, but i am badly bent." i think the senate is a very powerful institution and a very important part of our republic. i do believe the partisanship we see there now is an impediment to dealing with america's most serious problems, and this applies whether you're a democrat or republican. people seem to be -- [applause] people seem to be basically -- let me put it this way.
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don't people ask me, if they are -- young people ask me, if they are going to get involved in a campaign, what would they look for in a candid it? -- in a candid ate? what would be my year? -- my view? i think i would look for the two qualities. this sounds simple. but i would look for someone who has the facts before they have the conclusions. [laughter] [applause] the second thing i would look for, and everyone claims they are doing it -- i would look for someone who puts the interest of america before their political party. [applause] thank you. i understand my friend david, a former colleague in the senate, spoke here last week. and i share with david of view -- a view that at some point,
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the senate -- center has to rise up in america. the center has to rise up and say we are tired of being flattened by the winds. -- wings. [applause] but i believe is going to be up to us. we control our government. we elect our representatives. we respond or do not respond. we either get involved in campaigns or we do not. we either sit on the sidelines or we let the activists on the left and right dominates in the primary and the process. i think it is going to be up to us. also, the reasons for the partisanship, i will not going to now, but it has grown tremendously over the years. it is not the parties do not agree on everything. when you believe your colleague is a basic human being and you are willing to listen, it is amazing what you can learn when you listen. i think today more and more our representatives and senators and all of us have to listen to
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leave. -- to lead. yes, it is a problem. the senate will survive. the republic will survive, because the american people will assure it. i am confident in the long run. >> this question has to do with russia, specifically in seeking better cooperation with russia. is their involvement in nato a possibility or a furtherance of that cooperation? and should cooperation of -- with russia reached another level, does that inspired china toward cooperation or scare them into destructive action? >> that is a great question in all of its component parts. i am a sponsor of a program sponsored by the carnegie endowment. we have a group of east europeans, central europeans, u.s., and russians. it has a mission over the next -- we have a commission over the next two years working on these exact questions.
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is russia ready to step up to the plate, not use energy as a political weapon? are they ready to have a real political dialogue? are they ready to acknowledge that if we keep expanding nato, right up to russia's borders, they are going to react just like we would react, which is they are going to get more and more paranoid, more and more nationalistic, more and more dangerous? after world war room and one -- world war i, we ended up with world war ii. after world war ii, we had extraordinary leadership. they did things that were not popular. the marshall plan. who ever heard of turning around after the worst war in history and helping your two adversaries, germany and japan? it enabled freedom to survive in our country and the world and freedom to promote growth in japan and germany and europe. we have got to understand we're
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in another one of those structures of history. -- junkers -- junctures in history. so far -- the fundamental question is what do the russians themselves want to bait? -- be? and in my view, there is no denying we have a lot of future in securing interest. we are not going to agree on all of our values. we're not want to agree on some things we did. we will not have identical interests. i believe we have a vital interest in cooperating with russia. i believe they have a vital interest in cooperating with us. we both have of vital interest in maintaining a dialogue on china. so that they do not believe the u.s.-russia-nato are aligned against them. china is the new emerging power, economic power in the world. history is replete with examples where a new emerging power clashes with the existing power, which is of course the united states, and most of europe. we have a big challenge. with china, we have a big challenge. dialogue and discussion including military to military
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discussions are enormously-- the major area of conflict with china could be tie 1 -- taiwan. it is getting better, not worse. that's good. the taiwanese and the chinese are working together every day on economic matters and that is building bridges, which will be increasingly stable in terms of preventing conflict with taiwan and china. u.s., russia, china are all enormously important. i think good leadership is important in all countries. >> he talked about the importance of improving the early warning signals or response time in terms of the united states and russia, corporate progress in these -- cooperative progress on these matters. could you explain what you mean by that? is there a faith-based component? -- space-based component? >> fate is where we get a lot of our intelligence -- fate is where we get a lot of our intelligence -- faith is regular -- space is a regular
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source of a lost -- lot of our intelligence on the russians. the russians, as we did back in decades past, see that missile defense is a threat to their strategic offensive weapons. president reagan had the dream of working together on missile defense. in my view, it was probably an unrealistic dream when he first of the concept. -- when he first had the concept. today, i think it is realistic. united states and russia have banned intercontinental nuclear -- into range nuclear missiles. most tree -- most countries have not. that gives us a nexus to work with them on this category. i believe we need to be able to knock down all missile that is -- a missile that is launched by mistake. we can do that by satellite. the satellite goes up. it always has control mechanisms so there is a way to blow it up and make sure that it does not fall on a major city.
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that -- that is not true of a missile. if you fire that, it is gone. and so is russia or the united states. we have a mutual states. during the cold war, we had thousands of weapons on prop to launch, meaning that, in certain segment -- inand certain circumstances, if there was a warning that an attack was coming, the president of the united states would have the option of launching the missiles. they did not get hit themselves -- so that they did not get it themselves. it is called deterrence. the russians have had a similar system. americans have moved away from that, not far away enough for me. the russians have had a deterioration of their warning systems, and they have moved, in my view, not at all away. meaning, if they get -- at the general comes in and says to president mid if -- medvedyev, we think we are under attack. if you cannot launch in four
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minutes -- four minutes is arbitrary. i do not know whether it is four or five or six or seven minutes. it is a very short time. if you do not launch your muscles before they get hit, we will not have a survivable deterrent. at that stage, we have an existential state. we've had false warnings. so have they. the last big falls warning was -- falls warning was -- false warning was in 1995. we launched a peaceful satellite. we sent notification we were going to launch it, like we were supposed to. the russian bureaucracy did not get a notification to the leadership. the military command picked up, thought it was an attack, came in and told president yeltsin. it was a dangerous situation. fortunately, when political relationships are betterleaders in going to be much more it skeptical of a warning. we are safer than we were because of political revelations.
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-- because political relationships are much better. but do we still have the danger? yes. can we knock down a missile? we do not have failed states on -- bill saves -- the. -- we do not have fail-safes on them. it is not like the old movie with joe wills. what i would like to see on the warning time -- if let's say, hypothetically we have five minutes now. or the russian president has five minutes. we may have a little bit longer. we have submarines. we may have a more survivable deterrent than the russians do. let's say five minutes. the goal of military-to military -- military-to- military discussions -- these are technical issues. they need to be, in my view, for president medvedyev, go have discussions and give us 20 minutes. once we get to 20 minutes, let's get to 40 minutes. and then let's get to an hour
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and a day and a week and a month. that is what i call horizontal arms control. in my opinion, is equally important to vertical. if we make nuclear weapons less and less relevant, and the russians do, we will have a lot less chance of any miscalculation. -- it is important for the u.s. and russia to move in that direction. china is already in that position. they are not in a prompt launch position. it is important for the u.s. and russia to get more like china before china gets more like us. india and pakistan to not have -- and do not have -- india and pakistan do not have anything like the sophisticated warning systems or the time that we have because they are located so close to each other. warning and decision time our -- are confidence-building measures that are essential to making
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nuclear weapons less dangerous -- less relevant, to reduce the chances of accident or miscalculation, and to -- and to set an example for the world, before the world gets on a hair trigger. >> pursuing the vertical side of that, if congress approves a new reduction treaty, assuming gratification, how many nuclear -- assuming that ratification, how many nuclear bombs will the u.s. and russia still have? >> if it's caught in accounting rules, no matter -- it gets caught in accounting rules now. no matter how many weapons you put on a bomber, it counts as one. that is the new treaty. that is because of verification. when you say limited to 1500 each, and that is the goal here, it does not count all the weapons. it does not count what we call battlefield tactical nuclear weapons, which are not included in this, and which are a terrorist's dream, and which are more of a danger to russia now than they are us. they have to control them. i can not want to go often to --
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i do not want to go off in too much into history, but the first time i went to nato as a senator in 1974, 1975, i read a paper on tactical nuclear weapons. we had our tactical weapons in germany close to the front- line, where we thought the communist invasion, the soviets would come across. the reason we have been there, -- had them there, we did not want the russians to mask their tanks. we thought if we had nuclear weapons, they would not mask their tanks. we felt if they did not do that, we would not lose. but if any conflict broke out, because of the short range, some of them five or 10 miles, you would either have to lose them or move them back. if you move them back, i guess what? you end up destroying the territory you are trying to defend, germany. that is the situation russia is
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in now. they need to take a close look at their tactical nuclear weapons. unless they're going to invade, and i do not think anybody believes that now, they have all those weapons on their own territory. where are they going to shoot them? tactical nuclear weapons made sense back when i was with the iowa state journal. -- when i was still a general. increasingly they have made less sense. today, they make almost no sense. i've spent a large part of my senate career trying to get our forces in europe stronger so we would have less reliance on tactical nuclear weapons. that is the long story. the tactical nuclear weapons -- maybe not by treaty, maybe by sometimes agreement, maybe by moving them far back from the border, may be making them transparent or accountable. we need to start getting rid of them. >> two questions related to pakistan. one is come but you know one is,
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do you know -- one is, do you know anything but the warning system between pakistan and india, if one exists? and secondly, was the nuclear risk out of pakistan -- what is the nuclear risk of a pakistan that goes to the ritz in india? >> to me, the nuclear risk in pakistan is primarily reject -- beyond the india equation. number two would be it is pakistan stable? a country that is not stable is a very dangerous place to have nuclear weapons. the stability of pakistan comes into play vis a vis afghanistan, the extremists in that country. are there nuclear weapons in the country. i've no doubt the pakistan government, pakistan military, are totally pledged to protect the nuclear inventory. but personal liabilities are key -- personnel reliability is
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the key to protecting anything, whether it is a bank or a grocery store or a nuclear inventory. the question of personal -- personnel re liability pakistan would be the greatest danger. india and pakistan do not have as much morning time as they both need to make rational decisions. -- as much warning time as they need to make rational decisions if they get into a military conflict. so warning time is all- important. even during the cold war, i went to india and pakistan wants -- once right after somebody had come out of an intelligence committee and sometimes there's too much conversation on capitol hill. they leaped something to the -- leaked something to the media about the possibility of a preeminent attack on india or pakistan. i got over there and found out that a leak had set in motion all this extremely dangerous maneuvering between the two countries that could have resulted in a war. the point is transparency and communications are enormously important in pakistan -- are enormously important. pakistan and india are a long way from that now.
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hopefully they are making progress. their leadership is now having communications. the whole world has a stake in those two countries having a much more stable relationship. that goes to the question of kashmir, which is another whole question. nevertheless, they do not have the kind of warning that is in the best interest of either country. >> in what way, that is how, which you like to see china -- would you like to see china engage north korea on the nuclear issue? >> we need the chinese to be vigorous in putting pressure on the north koreans, whether it is economic, political, or combination of both. so that they realize that they -- if they do not start being part of the civilized world. their standard of living in the people will suffer grievously as they do today. that is the fundamental question. the second question is, the new
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they have enough -- a nuclear position. they have enough material to make bonds. -- bombs. they have had a protest. they definitely have a nuclear weapons program. the chinese, as part of the effort -- chinese have got to also impressed the north koreans to understand they cannot be part of the civilized world if they continue to defy the united nations mandates and develop a nuclear program. it is not just when to take -- is going to take a lot of dialogue. it is going to take not just chinese leadership, but the chinese have the most leverage. we have very little leverage because we do not have any trade with them. we do not have any relationship with them. of course, they are extremely nationalistic and paranoid. it is going to be a tough road. it is enormously important. i worry about iran primarily these of the israel -- vis a vis israel. all so i worry about a run in
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terms of proliferation in the area -- iran in terms of proliferation in the area. seven or eight or 10 other countries are going to line up for nuclear weapons if the iranians get them. north korea is so desperately poor and their economic system is such a disaster, you worry about them selling anything that will bring money in the marketplace. i worry about the sale of north korean nuclear material. >> let's talk about israel for a minute. israel has nuclear weapons. are they included in non- proliferation discussions? do you believe that their possession of nuclear weapons has made israel safer? >> well, the first question is are they engaged in any discussions? they never signed a non- proliferation treaty. if they do have nuclear weapons, and the news media and
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unclassified reports say they do -- they do not admit or deny it -- but if they do, they are not reaching a non- proliferation -- breeching the non-proliferation treaty. neither is india or pakistan. these were three exceptions. guess what? they all have nuclear weapon programs, according to the reports we hear. israel was very much part of the discussion on the recent review of the non-proliferation treaty. every five years they review that in the un in new york. the last review was 2005. pretty much a disaster. this review was much more positive. one of the things that with the end game was whether israel was going to be named in the document relating to the non- proliferation. you will hear more details on that. they ended up being named, but not single out specifically for criticism. in my view, and this is just my personal view, the u.s. government has a sensitive
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policy on this and every word would count. with cal. biome the u.s., we have to have peace in the middle east -- we have to have peace in the middle east if we want to expect israel to get rid of its nuclear weapons. i do not mean perfect peace. i mean some type of settlement between israelis and palestinians. [applause] that is an understandable position. you cannot divorce the peace process. -- the middle east peace process from a nuclear, weapon-free zone in the middle east. but guess what? that is the same situation india and pakistan have. they are not going to, unless they resolve their conflicts in some much better way than they have now, they are not going to get rid of nuclear weapons. unless china and india began to work together better, it is going to be hard for those two countries to see their way. all these things depend on our -- the last bullet in the "wall
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street journal" article. this is the shortest bullet, but the most difficult. resolving regional conflicts that lead country to believe they need nuclear-weapons that they have or to develop them. the world, of with india and pakistan as an example, the world has a stake in regional conflicts where at nuclear- -- where nuclearweapons could be involved. the world has a stake. we all have to realize that and bear down on these conflicts. we do not have to tell them what to do, what to do, but we do have to let them know that it is all of our business when it could lead to global catastrophe. >> in your mind, do you have any threshold at which you would no longer rely on world cooperation to confront iran before you would consider military intervention? and have sanctions ever worked?
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>> sanctions do not work unless you have uniform application. it does not have to be perfect, but it has to -- has to be above 90%. you cannot have countries on the border breeching the sanctions and expected to work. that is why russia and china are absolutely essential. will sanctions work in iran? i think it will take sanctions plus internal change, both. i do not think sanctions alone will work. we are in a time contest. if the iranians develop their nuclear program before they have internal change, it is a dilemma for policy makers. we have to consider military action.
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to avoid military action, they probably have to change before the next 10 years are over, 20 years. any government gets the support of its people when it is attacked. there is a huge dilemma here for policy makers. in terms of the military option, i think those have to be on the stove. i would hope they can be away from the front burner for as long as possible. as long as we have some hope of resolving the situation, either by negotiation or by the pressure that the world is seemingly increasingly willing to put on iran. when you start wrapping the -- up people's bank accounts, and if we do it in a targeted way, it may help an internal change. it has to be done carefully. the actions taken -- if the actions taken by the world seem to be punitive to the iranian people, then the change will be held back. i do not think the young people of iran will be patient with the kind of regime they have
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for many more years, but the change will be interesting. the leader of the opposition noted the other day, and criticized mahmoud ahmadinejad for allowing the changes -- for allowing the sanctions to be good and played -- to be put in place. it is not one solid country. national pride comes into play. i remember going to the soviet union several times and talking -- i remember going over to russia since the end of the soviet union several times and talking to the various top officials over there about their interest in helping america put pressure on iran and not developing iran's nuclear weapons capabilities. each time i brought it up, my counterpart got out a chart that showed me all of the nuclear assistance we have given to the shah of iran.
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he basically said, this did not start under mahmoud ahmadinejad. it started under the shah when america and europe helped the shah. we do not have a perfect record on this. when we try to get china and russia and others to join us in putting on pressure, vis-a-vis north korea vis-a-vis iran, they bring this up. if we were in their shoes, what would we do? the russians have a very large muslim population. they want to keep it stable, obviously. they believe that the iranians refrained from intervening when they had that chechen problem. therefore, they do not want to go as far as we want to go in terms of pressure on iran. the chinese, on the other hand, with north korea -- russia does not want iran to of nuclear -- to get nuclear weapons.
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the chinese do not want north korea to continue their nuclear program. but neither do they wanted to -- want them to collapse, because they see millions of refugees coming over their border. the south koreans, our ally, feel the same way. they want pressure, but they do not want it to collapse. so we have to put ourselves in other people's shoes and say, what can we do if we want them to join us, to ease some of their worries? of course, that is not easy to do, but we do need their help, no doubt about it. i'm not bleak on the subject. i think it is so fundamentally in the interest of the world to not have an outbreak of nuclear weapons and not to destroy the nuclear weapons treaty that i -- non-proliferation treaty. i think we probably can persuade them to work together with us. i think president obama is working on this issue very hard and very diligently. a lot of that is being done
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behind the scenes. criticism is public. sometimes the effective steps have to be done very quietly. >> you are memorable and outstanding. thank you for being here. [applause] >> thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> next, a look at the life and presidency of lyndon johnson. then, the speaker of the house
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and secretary action sucky. after that, congressional wills for filibustering. on newsmakers, u.s. coast guard, and at robert papp talks about the coast guard missions. newsmakers, sunday at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> join our conversation on the american revolution, the making of the constitution and the importance of historical study, sunday with gordon would booktv's in debt. that is at noon eastern on c- span2. >> now, a look at the life and presidency of lyndon johnson from today's ", washington "" is
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about 45 minutes. host: charlie peters is the author of lyndon b. johnson. yo speak about one of the tapes of president johnson's era. this is richard russell talking about
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>> but said they never did claim
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korea up. host: our guest is charlie peters. you just heard the chairman about vietnam. guest: there is nothing more telling them that tape. it shows how deeply divided johnson's seoul was about that war. his real instinct was that there was going to be a mass if we got in heavily and we would kill a lot of american boys. he knew that he was fully aware of the downside, but he was petrified of seeming week. seeming like you -- in that conversation, that happened the day before that judge morrison was an old trusted adviser of
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his. it did not make any difference how many americans got killed, he had to stand up or he would lose the presidency. you heard him mention the fear of goldwater, which was very brave great. host: he entertained a lot of people who had criticisms and concerns about getting involved in vietnam. guest: there was a series of meetings in july of 1965, just before the major troop escalation. during those meetings, he raid all of the doubts that anybody in the antiwar movement expressed, but then they would just glide over those objections as they thought of the other
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arguments against pulling out, of the fear of the domino effect, the fear of losing the rest of southeast asia, the fear of caving in company the commie. it's hard for people to remember the fear of the communism was greater than the fear of al-qaeda today. we had just witnessed the building of the german wall. you saw the hideous side of the communists, and we were well aware of that. most of the history of the war is a horrie mistake, it was the arguments at the time appeared very compelling to do
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what he did. host: r guest is charlie peters, for 30 years the editor of monthly. in looking at president johnson's decisions about vietnam, you write that he was trapped by what he thought he had to do, but he did clearly see where it was all heading. guest: yes, that's the heart-breaking thing. i was once at a meeting at the white house. i was working for peace corps at the time. it was supposed to be five minutes, he was going to wish the volunteers well, but he kept us in the office for over an hour, as he went through this agonized reading of letters fro mothers and fathers who had sons in vietnam, of letters of condolence he wrote to them, and you saw them, the man was just
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in torment. later, it got bad enough, i was having lunch with a friend after leaving the white house, and i said what's wrong with johnson? and he leaned over and he said, "he's crazy. "the stress of 1965-1967, before he renounced the presidency in 1968, the stress on him was enormous, because he knew what he was doing to himself with the war, that he was really constructing this great society, of having a presidency that he could be proud of through history at would rank him among the great presidents, and at the same time, it was nearly destroying himself. host: when you describe that, it
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sounds like he was trying to convince himself as much as others. guest: that's very perceptive, that's exactly right. also, the other was the young people. he was desperate to try to explain to young people, and get them on his side. host: tell us about his complicated personality. we all know images of him in the senate, being known as showing muscle pickup right about him trying to please a lot of people, trying to please others. host: he was trying to speak to sam russell witness the speaker of the house. johnson and lady bird went to
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tremendous effort to win them over, and of course, johnson always called these people his real daddies. host: les get to calls approximately fred joins us from west virginia. you're on with charlie peters. caller: thank you very much for c-span for trying to do a better life for everybody. i have a president for president johnson. he had a speech in new york about immigration. he said that i made a new law that immigrants coming in u.s. has to be two cditions. one is he has to have a very close relative, and second, he has to have some kind of skill or know some kind of job. i know if they do that, the problem is going to be solved.
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host: talk about immigration. guest: the speech he refers to i'm not familiar with, but one of the tremendous accomplishments with johnson in my mind, as least, was the immigration bill of 1965, where for years, we had had a great wave of immigration around the turn of the century, but then congress had passed a very restrictive bill that for 30 or 40 years restricted immigration to people, pretty much to white northern europeans. itas almost impossible for meone from southern or eastern europe to get in, or from anywhere else on the planet. johnson open america up to a fair immigration status for people from all over the world. this really helped change the
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face of america, and made it more the country we know today. host: adriana joins us from massachusetts. caller: i'm a first time caller, long time f of c-span, and charlie, i feel like i know you from all the times you appeared with warren. guest: remember those times? caller: warren with the chicago papers. guest: he was a conservative, t i was a liberal. he was a wonderful, reasonable man. we had wonderful discussions where we would, i think we each could see the other guy's good point. conservatives and liberals don't do that today. caller: they sure don't. guest: i'm so glad you remember that. caller: oh, yes.
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i'm a staunch democrat and a big hero of obama my question to you charlie, this morning, i that my kids love obama and the fact that he did gate health care plan through, and once it's through, you can fix it. if there's nothing through, you can't do anything. guest: that's right. l.b.j. understood that. caller: i feel with l.b.j., we might have gotten a public option and bye in to medicare. i'mow going to take you off mute -- i'll listen to you on the phone. go ahead. guest: i honestly think if you lo back at medicare, johnson made a good many concessions to get that bill throu. he in willing with the american medical association did nothing
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to challenge the fee-for-service way of paying for medical care at has, to me, remains a major, major problem in american medicine. johnson didn't take that one on, just as there were issues that obama didn't take on this time. really, my study of the medicare bill makes me more undstanding of the concessions obama made that some of us liberals weren't too happy with at the time he made them. host: let's take lisn to president johnson's great society speech at the university of michigan. >> we have the wism to use that wealth to enrich and elevate our civilization. you, imagination, and your initiative and indignation will
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determine whether we build a society where society is buried. we have the opportunity to move not only toward a rich society, and a powerful society, but upward society. host: what is johnson's legacy for the great society? guest: in the general feeling that johnson faid on the war, his immense accomplishment, the great society is forgotten, or downplayed.
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johnson got more legislation passed than any president except franklin roosevelt. there's nobody else that rivals lyndon johnson. in that sense, and i'm not just talking about getting the old about hims passed, i'm talking about getting important changing of the country legislation, like medicare, like the building rights act of 1965, the civil rights act of 1964. those were the laws that finally made the promise of the declaration of independence real, that all men of created equal. at last that promise was made real, and it was lyndon johon thatelivered the bills. that wasn't easy, getting a civil rights bill passed with the power of the south, in the congress was an act of near
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genius, i think. host: christopher joins us from washingtontate. good morning. caller: i have kind of a historical question about president johnson that i hope you can help me with. we hear a lot, and there's a lot written about johnson and the vietnam war, but i wonder if you could talk a little bit about his role or his attitude toward the war in korea 10 or 15 years earlier both at the time, and i believe he was in coness at that time, and then how he came to reflect on it later in his presidency, because he did bring it up in his conversation on the phone that you just ran a few minutes ago with senator russell.
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guest: i think korea had tremendous impact on so many americans. see, we had all --he american history i learnedhen i was as boy was we always won the war. well, korea was the first war we didn't win. we had to settle for a tie, so johnson, most people who lived through that were awa of the bloody cost of that war, and of the fact that we had to live th a tie. fact, johnson all thrgh the vietnam war, to his cret, was always willing to settle for any peace that would leave the south vietnamese free to decide their own fate, but the north would not agree to that. he had a partner in negotiation
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that wanted it all, and finally, what we had to do was concede that even though there was a good argument for staying in south vietnam, the goverent we were working with was just too corrupt and inefficient, and could not win the loyalty of the south vietnamese people, so it was hopeless for us to go on. we weren't going to prevail. we were going to keep on killing people, so in effect, we had to give in. that was a very painful thing to do. host: you write about the great society and changes that lyndon johnson tried to make, in education from k-12 and higher education pickup wrote about his time as a teacher, teaching at a very poor school in texas. he came early, stayed late, developed extracurricular
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activities, parent group. you write that his being there was a blessing from the clear sky, the kind of teacher you wanted to work for. you said he did a lot of things out of his own self-interest to get ahead, but why did he become so dedicated to the kids. guest: there was the bad side of johnson, and the good side of johnson. his teaching experience at that little school was one of the great good sides, because he threw himself into that job teaching these small kids, running the small school with all the energy as if he were president of the united states, the same effort, the same commitment to the kids. that memory of those kids, that stuck with him all his life, and one of his most touching speeches is about the look on the faces of those kids as they
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realized the prejudice against them, and which was in texas at that time, mexican-american kids were treated like dirt. johnson remembered that, and that was one of the great impulses behind the civil rights bills and the education bill. host: let's go to a caller from texas, ricrd joins us on our republican line. good morning. caller: good morning. mr. peters, can you tell us anything or do you know anything about the box 13 issue, and i believe about the school, he only worked there a couple of years. guest: i wish most people as far as johnson had the concern for people to work in a place like the small school for a couple of
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years. he actually worked there for a year, but he did great things in that year. this is a story of the election that there was considerable evidence that johnson stole the presidency -- the senate in 1948 in texas. there's considerable evidence that the -- he ranor the senate first in 1941. there's considerable evidence that that election was stolen from him. and what had happened at that time was he was ahead in all the early counting, so he was anxiouso get the count out, and so his campaign published the polls as soon as they had them, as they could. the opponent held back the
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counties they controlled, so once all of johnson's votes were in, they could tilt the votes in their counties they controlled. johnson did the exact reverse in 1948. there was one precinct where there was like 1,000 votes when they finally turned them in cast for johnson, and only 600 registered voters, so it was somewhat suspect. there was little question that there was a lot of hankie panyy from both sides. host: our next caller is from michigan. caller: the lessons of the vietnam war, as it applies to today's wars, seems to me that
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vietnam was fairly contrived, the gulf of tonkin incident, we entered the war under false pretenses. it seems to me that iraq is the same thing, or similar, has lots of parallels, and even afghanistan, the fact that the government is to corrupt, and it's supposed to be ourally. it seems to me that our leaders have not learned, really reviewed or learned the lessons ofhe disaster of vietnam. guest: i agree with you about afghanistan. i'm afraid that a-- one of the points i wasrying to make was the arguments for being in vietnam seemed very good at the time, very compelling. well, so did the arguments for being in afghanistan today. what's going to happen to the women of afghanistan if we pull
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out, and that's a horrible thought. well, you knowhat happened in vietnam when we pulled out, the antiwar people never want to admit that a million south vietnamese fled in boats because they didn't want to live under the north communists. there will be a real cost to giving up in afghanistan. i do not see how we can possibly prevail with the government that is as corrupt and inefficient as karzai's just as we could not prevail in vietnam with a vernment that was corrupt and inefficient. host:resident johnson you write had knowledge about things and allowed the american people to essentially be misled. guest: tt's true.
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his first instinct on the gulf of takin was to downplay it. he was talking to the former secretary of treasury under eisenhower, a very influential man, anderson. johnson told him he kind of provoked, there have been some south vietnamese raised on the north, and the north suspected that our ships might be supporting those rides, and so they had some excuse f attacking our ship. then anderson said just like judge morrison had said way back earlier that year, anderson said, but goldwater will acrossify you if you don't seem to stand up to the north vietnamese. johnson thought that over.
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later that day, he decided he was going to turn it into a chance for him to stand up and show that he was just as tough as goldwater, and that was of the real reason. it wasn't to manufacture a war, as the previous caller suggested, it was to deal with a political reality of that time, of that moment, the political reality of the only threat from goldwater, the only way he polled better than johnson was policy being tougher on foreign policy. host: joan joins us from tennessee, an independent call. caller: i am 65 years old, and i was one of the protestors of the vietnam war, marched, but of course, with age comes wisdom, and at this point, i really appreciate what president johnson was up against.
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even though i did not vote for him, because i don't vote, that's not cyniyism, i did vote once for the son of nancy pelosi. i think that lyndon johnson is one of the great presidents because of what he did in passing the civil rights act. he did that, even though you knew that it would cost the democratic party the white south, but he did it based on moral reasons, because he really wanted to perfect the constitution, and that passing the voting rights act, even though it would cost the democratic party the white south, he did it because it was the right thing. guest: that is such an important point, and i really congratulate
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you, culler, because i think nothing is more important to understand the great side of lyndon johnson than that the courage it took. he knew that it was going to cost him the south. he knew it, and he had the courage. it is so funny, the great irony of lyndon johnson is that he worried in connection with vietnam so much about demonstrating courage. i think he told doris kearns of the nightmare he had all during the presidency, this was talking to doris after he was out of office. the nightmare was of bobby kennedy leading a m accusing him of being a traitor, coward,
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weakling if he left vietnam. of course, bobby had been somewhat hawkish, so johnson had a reason to fear the hawkish side of bobby. johnson didn't trust or understand him. just as that fear of goldwater, he feared bobby would criticize him if he pulled out of vietnam, just a glorious misunderstanding. he was so worried about showing courage in vietnam, and yet he had displayed immense courage in the civil rights bls, knowing that he was risking losing t south, which he did. host: let's listen to president johnson talking with robert kennedy in 1964 about the civil
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rights bill. >> mr. president? >> yes. >> we had a meeting all day today with senator dirkson on the civil rights bill and feel that we have an agreement with him, with senator akin. >> congratulations. what does he think? can he get the votes? >> he thinks so. we'll have a meeting monday morning. >> are you in pretty good shape with the folks someday in the bill? >> we meet with them at 4:30. they're not going to be happy, but nothing makes them happy, and so we just have to accept that. >> i don't know, you did a good job of making everybody happy on the house side. >> in october, they weren't happy when we did it. >> i know, but they saw the wisdom of it after you did it. >> after it was over. senator dirkson was terrific. >> should i call him? >> should i give you the names? senator akin, and phil hart was
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damn helpful, and senator magnusson, and of course, dirkson. >> thank you, bobby. host: president johnson talking with attorney general robert kennedy on reaching an agreement in the senate. guest: that was glorious. host: i heard you laughing. guest: what wonderful moment, the conversation. sometimes, bobby was a little idolized about his liberalism. you notice the remark talking about the senate liberal, and he said at one point, nothing would satisfactory those guys.
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and i worked with bobby, and i knew that other side of robert kennedy, so that made me laugh. that was a great example of kennedy and johnson actually working together to get that civil rights bill of 1964 through. host: let's go to timmy, democrats line in nashville, tennessee. caller: good morning. host: good morning caller: i spent a year working with president ford publishing his final book that was on the j.f.k. assassination. my question is about a couple of things that even president ford would not talk with me about, and that related to l.b.j., and that is it true that he was being investigated by the senate for bribery and corruption, and that was at least part of the
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reason that he was not going to be on the ticket with president kennedy in 1964? guest: he was going to be on the ticket, i think, kennedy had already made the decision that johnsowould be on the ticket, and johnson, he had asked johnson to go with him to texas and help arrange the trip to texas. thers no question johnson, there was a people in the kennedy camp, and i think maybe that included robert kennedy, robert kennedy, and lyndon johnson disliked each other intensely from the very beginning, when they met in the 1950's. i think bobby had opposed johnson being given the
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vice-presidency in the beginning. there was two sandals, one billy sol estes and one bobby baker. one thing moving about the bobby baker scandal is it threatened to reveal johnson's girlfriends, and jack's girlfriends. i think jack saw considerable common ground. there was a conversation, one of those fascinating conversations, bobby could be quite self-righteous, but there was a call from bobby to baker that they've been trying to quiet down the scandal. jack talked to bobby, we've got to do something bit, and bobby said to bobby baker, who was a man of let's say of not the most
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sterling character, but that, oh, we have great confidence in the president. we have great confidence in you. we know you're going toet through this, and all that was to keep bobby quiet about jack's affairs. host: let's go down to the republican line with don in st. petersburg. you're on the air. caller: and i have question for mr. peters. i read something the other day that president eisenhower tried to have the civil rights bill passed in the late 1950's, and it was killed in the senate by lyndon johnson, and then in 1963, johnson got it passed in the senate, 1963 or 1964, and then he took credit for it for the rest of his life. is that correct? guest: that's not correct. in 1957, under johnson's
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leadership and with only tepid support from eisenhower, johnson passed the civil rights bill of 1957, which, to me, remains one of the miracles of american legislation, because to anybody who lived through the 1950's as i did, and was working in a legislature, as i was, knew the tremendous difficulty of passing any liberal bill in that cautious atmosphere. this was the mccarty era. people were petrified of doing anything that seemed very liberal. johnson got the united states congress on record as saying these civil rights actually existed, people had the right to go into restaurants, all these places, to go vote, to their
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education, all these rights. the bill was toothless. some of the at this times said it should have been tougher. to me, it was amazing that he got the bill passed. he got richard russell, his southern friend to persuade his fellow senators, southern senators not to filibuster the bill, which was an amazing accomplishment. johnson, i think on the matter of civil rights, his father had had the courage to fight the ku ux klan in texas when johnson was a small boy. the klan in texas when johnson was a small boy, the klan was
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very powerful. the unquestioned good side of johnson to me was this side that showed when he was teaching in texas, shows with the civil ghts bills, shows with education, with the great society as a whole. this man, really, i was like him, i was a franklin roosevelt worshiper. i understood the religion. his religion was when he could escape the shackles of the southern senator, and as a president show his real liberal side. that's what he did. host: democratic line from illinois, johnny, hi, there. caller: from hegewisch. i would like to ask mr. peters, i'm a vietnam veteran, and kind of a back room historien about that war. my question is speaking of eisenhower, right after johnson made the announcement that he
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was afraid to send american boys to fight in aar that oriental boys wouldn't fight, and right after that comment, a short period of time later, johnson called eisenhower, or vice versa, and eisenhower scared johnson into believing the domino theory. right after that conversation with eisenhower, i understand, is when johnson made the commitment of 150,000 more troops. would you speak to the beginning of that war, mr. peters, and god bless c-span, and bless you all. guest: i think there was no question that eisenhower had influee with johnson, but i don't think it was in any way decisive on this matter. i think what was decisive with johnson in getting into the trouble inietnam originally were that the gulf of tokin
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resolution was political, set up to keep him from having an attack from goldwater. johnson also feared that the democratic convention was coming up later that august, that same month, he feed that bobby kennedy would lead a revolt in the party against him. he was totally neurorottic about bobby. that was political. the decision of the major escalation by the time they made that, that was made out of real -- the other thing of johnson -- of my having shared a part of johnson's life was if you worshiped f.d.r. because of the fight for the depression and
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for the average man, you always worshiped him for standing up to hitler, churchill. they were two heroes. you weren't going to have anything to do with another muni, or sell out a cckle czechslovakia. the domino theory, they really believed. the communists had taken over a lot of countries. the fear that they would take over a lot more was not an irrational fear at that time. host: do you think the legacy of presidt johnson will become
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more positive. guest: i think it will. i think with afghanistan going through the anguish of figuring out what to do, will understand the tremendous difficulty of whatever we do, it's going to be wrong in some ways. we're going to do some evil, whatever we do, and that's a terrible thing to face. that was the kind of vision johnsohad in vietnam. as people realize that, they'll look back on the great things johnson did. he was so much like andrew jackson. we haven't talked about johnson's crudeness, but that's another fascinating story. host: i wish we had more time. guest: it was wonderful. host: this book is part of the
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american president series published by times books. he is director of evaluation for -- as well. >> tomorrow, on washington journal, alex isenstadt of the house and senate and kevin to millesut obama's package and paul taylor. washington journal, live at 70 and eastern on c-span. >> in his weekly address, president obama talked about
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initiatives to strengthen america's middle class and creating new jobs. after that, congressman jeff davis of the house ways and means committee but the republican address talks about legislation that would require congress to take them up and down both before it can be enforced. >> on monday, we celebrate labor day. it's a chance to get together with family and friends, to throw some food on the grill, and have a good time. but it's also a day to honor the american worker to reaffirm our commitment to the great american middle class that has, for generations, made our economy the envy of the world. that is especially important now. i don't have to tell you that this is a very tough time for our country. millions of our neighbors have been swept up in the worst recession in our lifetimes. and long before this recession hit, the middle class had been taking some hard shots. long before this recession, the values of hard work and responsibility that built this
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country had been given short shrift. for a decade, middle class families felt the sting of stagnant incomes and declining economic security. companies were rewarded with tax breaks for creating jobs overseas. wall street firms turned huge profits by taking, in some cases, reckless risks and cutting corners. all of this came at the expense of working americans, who were fighting harder and harder just to stay afloat often borrowing against inflated home values to pay their bills. ultimately, the house of cards collapsed. so this labor day, we should recommit ourselves to our time- honored values and to this fundamental truth: to heal our economy, we need more than a healthy stock market; we need bustling main streets and a growing, thriving middle class. that's why i will keep working day-by-day to restore opportunity, economic security, and that basic american dream for our families and future
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generations. first, that means doing everything we can to accelerate job creation. the steps we have taken to date have stopped the bleeding: investments in roads and bridges and high-speed railroads that will lead to hundreds of thousands of jobs in the private sector; emergency steps to prevent the layoffs of hundreds of thousands of teachers and firefighters and police officers; and tax cuts and loans for small business owners who create most of the jobs in america. we also ended a tax loophole that encouraged companies to create jobs overseas. instead, i'm fighting to pass a law to provide tax breaks to the folks who create jobs right here in america. but strengthening our economy means more than that. we're fighting to build an economy in which middle class families can afford to send their kids to college, buy a home, save for retirement, and achieve some measure of economic security when their working days are done.
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and over the last two years, that has meant taking on some powerful interests who had been dominating the agenda in washington for far too long. that's why we've put an end to the wasteful subsidies to big banks that provide student loans. we're going to use that money to make college more affordable for students instead. that's why we're making it easier for workers to save for retirement, with new ways of saving their tax refunds and a simpler system for enrolling in retirement plans like 401(k)s. and we're going to keep up the fight to protect social security for generations to come. that's why we stopped insurance companies from refusing to cover people with pre-existing conditions and dropping folks who become seriously ill. and that's why we cut taxes for 95 percent of working families, and passed a law to help make sure women earn equal pay for
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equal work in the united states of america. this labor day, we are reminded that we didn't become the most prosperous country in the world by rewarding greed and recklessness. we did it by rewarding hard work and responsibility. we did it by recognizing that we rise or we fall together as one nation one people all of us vested in one another. that is how we have succeeded in the past. and that is how we will not only rebuild this economy, but rebuild it stronger than ever before. thank you. and i hope you have a great labor day weekend. hi, i'm geoff davis, and i work for the people of kentucky's fourth congressional district. yesterday, americans from coast to coast began their day with the news that our economy has lost jobs for three months in a row. the nation's unemployment rate has now been above nine percent for 16 consecutive months. this is despite the fact that the obama administration promised that the trillion- dollar 'stimulus' would keep unemployment below eight percent. so the question remains: where are the jobs? the obama administration told the american people this would be a 'recovery summer.' but, our economy continues to lose jobs. growth has slowed to anemic levels. our national debt is growing by more than four billion dollars per day. so as it turns out, 'recovery
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summer' was nothing more than a meaningless slogan. americans don't want slogans, they want solutions, which is exactly what republicans are offering. 'stimulus' spending, permanent bailouts, government takeovers, and federal mandates have all failed our nation. america's employers are afraid to invest in an economy racked with uncertainty over what washington's next set of rules, regulations, mandates, and tax hikes will look like. this uncertainty is one of the main reasons our economy is not creating enough jobs. republicans believe we need to get away from these policies and instead take action on common- sense steps to help small businesses get back to creating jobs. we've called on president obama to abandon his plan to impose job-killing tax hikes on families and small businesses. we've urged democratic leaders in congress to allow a vote on $1.3 trillion in immediate spending cuts. and we're listening to the people, getting their input on ways to help our economy start creating jobs again.
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today, i'd like to talk with you about one of those ideas. as we speak, the obama administration has lined up 191 rules and regulations that could each have an estimated annual cost to our economy of $100 million or more. that's 191 layers of red tape waiting in the wings. last year, the federal government issued 3,316 new rules and regulations that amounts to more than a dozen per day. all of these rules go on the books without being approved by congress. many of these mandates affect small business owners who don't have the resources to hire an army of lawyers and accountants to comply with all these burdensome regulations. the more time small business owners spend pushing paper, the less time they have to focus on creating jobs. the new health care bill is a perfect example of how unelected bureaucrats can wreak all kinds of havoc. this is a law that, upon its enactment, triggered the creation of roughly 160 boards,
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bureaus, bureaucracies, and commissions. it took less than four months for the feds to rack up 3,833 pages of regulations pertaining to obamacare. when congress forces through controversial legislation by purposefully leaving blanks for executive agencies to fill in, unelected bureaucrats end up writing laws with no accountability whatsoever. this has to stop. last year, a local resident came to me about a significant increase in sewer rates to help pay for storm water upgrades mandated by the federal government. of course, washington wasn't offering to help pay for the upgrades only issuing the orders to get them done. my constituent wanted to know whether congress had any say in these new federal mandates before they were handed down. the answer was 'no.' so with my constituent's help, i introduced the reins act, a common-sense initiative that would require congress to take
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an up-or-down vote on every new major rule before it can be imposed on the american people. this legislation would serve as a much-needed restraining order against unelected busybodies and bureaucrats whose actions could make it harder to create jobs. the sooner we rein in the red tape factory in washington, dc, the sooner small businesses can get back to creating jobs and helping more americans find an honest day's work. i've also posted the reins act as an idea on america speaking out, a national initiative republicans launched this spring to engage the american people in the creation of a clear and positive governing agenda. at americaspeakingout.com, americans can share their own solutions or comment and vote on someone else's. so what began as a conversation between a constituent and his congressional representative is now part of a national dialogue about a new governing agenda an agenda republicans will unveil later this month. these are just the first steps towards putting power back where it belongs: in the hands of the people. visit americaspeakingout.com now to have your say and to
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share your ideas. thank you for listening. >> next come of veterans affairs secretary and the speaker of the house speak at the convention. after that, a discussion on filibuster rules and then a debate between canada and the california senate race. >> congress returns from break next week. here is a look at some of our prime time programming after obama's speech monday. watch town hall meetings with bernie sanders. they both talked about health care. >> i believe the plan is for this plan to fail. i know that this plan will fail. health insurance is going to be way too high. you will create adverse selection. anybody that is young and healthy, you will pay the fund
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in 2014 rather than spend $7,000 or $8,000. if you get sick, they have to cover you. it does not rise to $795 in 2016. what is going to happen? the healthy young people will not be in the insurance pool. what is cora to happen to the people over 40 who were sick question-what is going to happen to the people over 40 who are sick? alternately, the blanket to revert back and tell you that insurance does not work. -- they want it to refer back and tell you that insurance does not work. >> in my view, if we are serious about having a cost-effective, high-quality health care system which guarantees health care to every man and woman and child, the way to go is a medicare for all single payer system.
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we are born to be loosed with lobbyists and big money because if the small state of vermont can show that the medicare for all single payer system works, the new york state is not far behind. >> we will show you both town halls in their entirety after over the air of the president's speech here on c-span. >> searched the term of mid east peace in the video library and you will get more than 1700 programs and more than a thousand transcripts. interviews, panels and for all the way up to this week's middle east peace talks free online. it is washington and the world is your way. >> veterans affairs secretary was among the speakers at this
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national convention in milwaukee. we will hear his remarks first followed by the house speaker nancy will also hear from the ranking member and chairman of the house veterans' affairs committee. >> for the great work. the legion has been well served. i know that secretary gates just spoke. he did not be on the premises anymore, but i would like to acknowledgement. the last time he and i were even close to being on the same stage together was at a mental health conference. i think that was fitting. senator feingold may have already arrived and congressman more, thanks to both of them for
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their unwavering support for veterans. major tom barrett, thank you for your hospitality. and the members of the legion's national leadership,adjutant general dan wheeler, auxiliary president rita navarreté, your superb executive director peter gaytan, other leaders of the legion family. it's good to see all of you again. legionnaires, fellow veterans, other distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen: i'm honored to be here in milwaukee with an organization that has, since 1919, been a powerful voice for veterans' rights in the halls of congress, in the oval office,
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and across the country -- wherever and whenever veterans needed your help. over the years, va and the legion have collaborated to serve veterans. it is my opinion that the relationship has never been stronger, more trusting, or more productive. now, that's not accidental. nor is it the result of just personal chemistry. it takes a concerted effort -- hard work -- on both of our
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there will always be unfinished work -- that's the nature of this mission. but we have established clear priorities, and with the increased funding provided by president obama and the congress, we are addressing those concerns. but they go into some specifics about where we have come -- about where we've come from over we are headed in the next 24: in 2009, a congressionally enhanced budget of $99.8 billion allowed us to begin
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addressing a range of issues that had accumulated over time. thanks to the congress, we were able to establish a framework for much-needed change that will enhance veterans' access to va benefits and services, improve the quality and safety of our health care programs, and reengineer our business processes to provide accountability, assuring best returns on investments. this year's budget -- 2010 -- of $114 billion, is a $14.2 billion, 16 percent increase to the 2009 budget. provided by president obama, it
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is the largest single-year increase in over 30 years for va. [applause] the president has enabled us to put in place programs and procedures that will serve veterans well into the next two decades. the 2011 budget request of $125 billion, an $11 billion, 10 percent increase over the large increase of 2010, will give us much needed firepower to increase veterans' access to our benefits and health care services, end the disability claims backlog, and eliminate veterans' homelessness by 2015.
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[applause] thank you. to deliver all this, va must be, for veterans. we need to make permanent the gains of the past 19 months. given the economic challenges facing the government and the nation, the $25 billion increase in va's budget over these two years underscores the president's commitment to transforming va and fixing persistent problems that have plagued the department for decades. problems that you will have wrestled with. we need a sense of urgency that matches his commitment -- and we are developing it. that is part of the culture change.
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these fixes require setting clear priorities, challenging the va workforce to get more and better results out of the funding we've been provided, and generating new business processes to track the money and ensure it produces the greatest gains for veterans. last year, we implemented the new post-9/11 gi bill, the largest student aid package of its kind since the original gi bill of 1944. to date, we have over 328,000 veterans and family members enrolled in college, working towards their degrees. 328,000. [laughter] [applause] when you include the montgomery gi bill and chapter 30 and 35 programs, that number goes up to nearly 600,000 veterans and family members in classrooms preparing for the next phases of their lives.
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[applause] we need their ingenuity, their leadership, their operational experience, their toughness, their discipline, and their dreams in american business and government today -- just like we needed yours. but as i tell them, unless they graduate, there is no payoff. i'll be checking graduation rates. i and dad. if they do not graduate, the program will not pay off. i am determined to see them graduate. now, we have worked two issues hard that have been on the back burner for decades -- one for 40 years (agent orange) and the other for 20 years (gulf war illness).
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last october, i accepted the institute of medicine's 2008 agent orange update, and based on the requirements of the law and the iom's findings, i decided that the evidence was sufficient to award presumptions of service connection to three new diseases -- parkinson's disease, hairy cell and other chronic b-cell leukemias, and ischemic heart disease -- bringing the total number of agent orange presumptions to 15. the president fully supported these presumptions and the congress has appropriated $13.4 billion to begin making benefits payments to the 250,000 or so veterans who are expected to submit agent orange claims in the next 12-18 months. i have been invited to testify before the senate veterans affairs committee on 23 september, to explain these decisions.
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i am happy to do that. it was the right decision, and the president and i are proud to finally provide this group of veterans the care and benefits they have long deserved. [applause] in the same vein, in march of this year, we provided presumption of service connection for nine new diseases associated with service in the gulf during operation desert storm. we must continue to research what might have caused these illnesses but that cannot be our primary focus. our primary mission is to address veterans suffering by diagnosing and treating the symptoms of the elements they
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suffer. we will continue to do the research to figure out what caused it. in the meantime, we are taking care of veterans. nine new diseases have been added. likewise in july, a simplified claims processing for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. this decision ends decades of focusing on documenting the stressor event, things like providing a 6 or 8 digit quarter net for where that stressor a vent whatever occurred. the most of us could not do that. not everybody had math, you know? instead, we are streamlining the delivery of medical care and benefits to veterans suffering from verifiable ptsd resulting
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from combat. they no longer have to document that event if they have been in combat and have a verifiable disorder. this is generational. it is not iraq or afghanistan. it is all who have served in combat, whether it is world war ii, korea, vietnam, the gulf war, or our current operations. these are the new rules. [applause] we provided $4.50 billion of mental health programs, and hired another 1000 mental health professionals in 2009. this year we are spending an additional $379 million on mental health. our mental have -- mental health staff today numbers over 20,000. our priority is to diagnose, treat, and your. if you're is not possible, then diagnose, treat, and care will
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be the standard. [applause] we are not going to allow our veterans who have carried the responsibilities of our national security squarely on those missions that secretary gates described for you in detail. we are not going to allow our veterans to carry those missions to language for the rest of their life without hope for ailments they cannot explain. for traumatic brain injury, we have a new disability rating that greatly improves her claims are to die rated. we have made enormous advances in treating those veterans with the most serious head injuries. those who arrive at our trauma centers comatose, with injuries that only a few years ago were thought to be irreversible and hopeless -- usa today recently reported on some of our successes. some of you may have seen them.
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chronicling the breakthroughs of our emerging consciousness centers in temperature, near here in minneapolis, richland, and call alto. through innovative care, increased resource and, and in gauging families as co-providers and treating their loved ones. our facilities have brought nearly 70% of these comatose patients back to consciousness. this is a rate that far exceeds the national norm, according to the highly respected kessler institute for rehabilitation in new jersey. this is your va. we do not accept hopelessness. we do not accept hopelessness in our lexicon. not among the injured. not among the ill. not among the homeless. there is much to be done in 2011.
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will focus on critical concerns of significant import to veterans. increasing access to benefits and services now. delimiting the disability claims backlog. and ending veterans homelessness. let me touch on each of these and how that are impacted by this budget. first, va must do better at reaching out to all veterans to ensure they are aware of our programs and their entitlements based on service-connection and need. access includes applying telehealth technologies to extend va's reach into the nation's most remote rural areas, and even into veterans homes, where life-saving monitoring is ongoing today for roughly 40,000 chronically ill veterans. i think there is more work to be done. that is why the work of the american legion is so critical.
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access touches a broad range of issues, everything from our hospitals to building new outpatient clinics, two mobile vans that -- veterans who have no way to transport themselves to our facilities. access also includes supplying tell health technology to extend our reach into the nation's most remote areas. even into veterans' homes, where life-saving monitoring is ongoing today, but 4000 veterans are being monitored in their own homes. in 2010, we have invested $121 million in telehealth technologies. we will treat sick 0.1 million patience, equivalent to the populations of los angeles and
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chicago combined. those veterans include 439,000 veterans of iraq and afghanistan. we will make and 83 million outpatient visits to our facilities, and be treated as inpatients and admitted to our hospitals 937 fuzzy times. those are our working estimates. to address these large numbers, we have programmed the following resources to care for them. $6.80 billion for long-term care, an increase of 14% over 2010. 2.6 million veterans of iraq and afghanistan. a 30% increase. $5.20 billion for mental health care, up over 2010. that enables us to expand both inpatient and outpatient mental health services. $590 million for medical and prosthetic research.
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51 $38 million of spinal cord injury programs, and 8% increase over 2010, and an 8% increase over 2009. we will improve healthcare access for the more than 3 million enrolled veterans who live in the most rural areas of the country. nearly $218 million to meet the growing needs of women veterans, an increase of more than $18 million over the 2010 budget. finally, funding for continued development of the lifetime electronic record, which we see as a way to let the department of defense and va transition seamlessly. in benefits in 2009, we received for the first time ever over 1 million claims. that is not going to go down. disability claims have increased 75% between 2000 and 2009.
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on average, what that means is over 97,000 new claims being submitted every month. we have launched an aggressive campaign to attack the claims backlog. it is a problem that has existed for decades. we intend to break the back of the backlog this year. it is a multi-front attack. [applause] it is a multi-pronged attack. we accept an ambitious objective of no claim over 125 days, and a 98% accuracy rate. [applause] i think most of you know that our coverage right now is about 160 days, moving toward that 125 daymark. our goal is not an average of 125 days. our goal is no claim over 125
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days, 98% accuracy. not just faster. also better and more accurate. there is nothing magical about 125 days. when we get there we will be looking at another target. in the last 18 months, we expanded our work force by over 3500 people, began expecting online applications for disability benefits, initiated an innovation competition to get the worst -- the best ideas to move forward. launched over 30 pilot programs and initiatives to a dead by best practices, invested over $138 million in paperless benefits management systems which will deploy in the fiscal year 2012. this is 2010. i know 2010 sounds like it is two years away. 2012 is 14 months away. additionally, vba awarded a contract to fast-track agent
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orange claims associated with our resumption decisions of last october. we do not have to under 50,000 agent orange claims piled onto our disability claims processing. we are going to fast track those claims. to enable these aggressive targets, the 2011 budget provides $2.10 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of $460 million, or 20% over the 2010 budget, an unprecedented amount of resource and for vba in the history of va. the budget will include $145 million in information technology funds to support the ongoing program and develop a smart paperless claims processing system. this is how we get after breaking that backlog. we intend to bring the backlog this year. homelessness in this rich and powerful nation.
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roughly 643,000 americans remain homeless on any given night. we access -- we accept that our veterans are a vital part of the national landscape. we say that in honoring their service we keep faith with abraham lincoln's promise to care for those who have gone to battle, and their families. yet nearly one in six of american home was is a veteran. 107,000 veterans are homeless today. this cannot define a your va or our nation. if you wonder what the secretary will be working on for the next several years, this is it. over the past six years, we have produced better and homelessness by nearly 90,000. will and veteran homelessness in the next five years. -- we will end the tour and homelessness in the next five
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years. [applause] last year, the national cemetery association in turned veterans and eligible family members and provided over three and 52,000 headstones and markers worldwide. this june we began offering a bronze medallion, signifying a veteran status, that can be attached to privately-purchased headstones and markers for use in civilian cemeteries. we expanded the burial policy, resulting in a plan to develop new state and national cemeteries. 10 grants were awarded to states to fund five new veterans cemeteries. va opened five new national cemeteries at a construction cost of over $89 million. 6e president's 2011 budget $251 million for cemetery maintenance and operations to support an estimated 114,000
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internments next week, and 8% increase over 2010. -- next year, an 8% increase over 2010. we won the national shrines heroes deserve. less than a year ago, a roadside bomb on the outskirts of afghanistan targeted a patrol of nine army rangers out of the first battalion. the major was blown into a nearby canal, face down. the right side of his head caved in. in the ensuing gunfight, his buddies got him out. all other members of his patrol were either killed or severely wounded. following medivac, six surgeries at military hospitals in afghanistan, germany, and
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bethesda, he was sent to the tampa va medical center last november. he was fully comatose, in a state doctors described as vegetative. by their own estimates, the odds for any recovery was slim. but cory, his family, his va thearpists, doctors, and nurses never gave up. they rallied to his side. they worked his limbs, massaged his body, keeping his muscles limber, using a wide variety of stimulus -- everything from a vacation to aromas to television. anything which might stimulate his senses. everything they could think of to bring him to consciousness. four long days, nothing. after three months, doctors recognized that he had awakened.
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he had regained consciousness. through sheer determination on his part, by the unwavering efforts of those who loved and cared for him, his progress has been agonizingly slow, but miraculously steady. he communicated first with a computer keyboard. he has no holy regained his ability to speak. he is one of our 70%, one who was comatose with severe traumatic brain injury for whom no one held out much hope. va doctors and therapists, along with the love of his family and his own fighting spirit brought him back from the darkness. in june, he returned for a visit to hunters army airfield in savannah, georgia, home of the first ranger battalion, to shake hands with his buddies.
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as president obama recounted in a recent speech, he is just what we expect of a ranger staff sgt. when someone at the hospital told him someday he would walk out of here, his response was, "i am running out of here." [applause] embodiest cory rembsburg a fighting spirit that has made our military formations great and made our country what it is. rangers lead the way is the slogan of the rangers. whatever service to come from, i think all of us can relate to the importance of the words that are found in the soldiers creed. four simple lines. i will always place the mission first. i will never accept defeat. i will never quit.
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i will never leave a fallen comrade. simple declaratory statements. [applause] i emphasize the "i," because these are promises one makes to the rest of the team, that on the toughest days you can count on my doing my part. from his tender clements since 911 -- 10 deployments -- to his fight for his own life epitomize that creed. he will not give up. va will not give up on him or any other veteran who needs us. the care and benefits promised by president lincoln in 1865 -- the promise to find my mission. it is the purpose of the funding update i just gave to you. it is the mission of our 300,000
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employees. we will continue to look to the members of the american legion for your assistance, your advice, and your advocacy as we fulfill that mission. thank you very much. may god bless the men and women who serve and have served this great nation. may god continue to bless this wonderful nation of ours. thank you all. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010]
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>> thank you very much and good morning. as speaker of the house, i have great pride to bring greetings of the entire house of representatives to the american legion. i come to bring thanks. i bring recognition for your leadership. take you for your leadership in establishing priorities and insuring accomplishments for our nation's veterans and military families. after your election tomorrow, or your turn comes to an end tomorrow, we look forward to working with your incoming leader. as a californian, i would like a [unintelligible] 2 [applause] commander hill. [applause] i have been watching the
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proceedings. i see the recognition that you have given to each other. i congratulate all of the awardees. i recognize the leadership of all for whom these awards are named. as a californian, i would like to acknowledge commander mark fox worthy and other californians who are here. any californians in the house? [applause] [laughter] as a pro doctor of baltimore, maryland, i would also like to salute the department of maryland and its commander. the work of the american legion is summed up in your commitment to mutual help. that means advocating for those who wear our nation's uniform when they serve end when they come home. protecting the american people,
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promoting patriotism that has made our nation great, and developing the next generation of leaders. thank you, legionnaires. [applause] the chairman of the veterans affairs committee has led one of the most active in history. he partners with others in congress to provide the va with a valence appropriation, the priority of the american legion. [applause] chairman edwards asked that i tell you how proud he is of the national commanders distinguished public service award with which she ordered him at the last washington conference. all of us take great pride in his accomplishments on behalf of our nation's veterans.
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i would also like to the knowledge the congresswoman who represents milwaukee, and who you heard from yesterday. one of her first accomplishments in congress was to secure funding for spinal cord injury units for disabled veterans here in milwaukee. [applause] i display with great pride my unsung hero award. i display it with pride in the speaker's office. it is an award i am proud of because i received it from you, our nation's heroes, the 2.2 million american legionnaires. for 92 years you have helped ensure we live by our moral obligation to honor the service of our troops and the sacrifice of their families. we must do it with deeds, not just words. from their founders, the
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veterans of world war one, to your newest members who have served in iraq and afghanistan, you understand the commitment of veterans, the commitment veterans have from one generation to the next. we have a responsibility to ensure that all americans understand the sacrifice of their troops, of our troops and their families. earlier this year, the blue star families presented me with a report that made this heartbreaking conclusion. nearly 95% of military families believe that the general public does not understand or appreciate the sacrifices made by service members and their families. that must change. we must work together. you certainly have done your part. we all must work together to make sure that number changes. military service has always been
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a source of american pride, and of course american strength. when i was growing up in baltimore, everyone knew or had someone in their family that were grateful to members of the armed services. in my family, four of my brothers are veterans. now my nephew is. i remember. this is my first serious recollection as a young child. vj day. you were not born then. but i was a little girl. i remember the excitement of the people in the italian-american neighborhood i lived in streaming into the streets. someone dressed as uncle sam was riding a white horse. he came through the neighborhood. people were cheering and singing. we are so proud of our heritage and so fiercely patriotic. but that made an impression on
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me that day because it was the first time i really saw people laughing and crying at the same time and learned what the excitement was about. some years later, my father became mayor of baltimore. one of his accomplishments was to bring the orioles to the city. to do that, he had to build a stadium. i remember the dedication of the new stadium, the baltimore memorial stadium to honor our nation's veterans, including his brother, my uncle johnny, who died at the battle of the bulge. on the wall of the stadium, it said, "time will not dim the core of their deeds. ti --me -- time will not dim the glory of their deeds." i would like to especially acknowledged the goldstar and
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blue star families who joined us today and thank them for their participation and their leadership. [applause] today in the capital, we have a glorious monument, the constant reminder, not that anyone needs any, that our men and women in uniform have served our country so well. it is the statue of president dwight eisenhower. i bring this up because it was his request, this man who had served two terms as president of the united states, that he be depicted not in civilian clothes as president but in his general's uniform, as he looked when he addressed the troops before d-day. come see that statute in the capital.
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in 2005, when i was elected house leader, i planted a flag for our veterans. in our offices, members of congress here the concerns on the challenges of our veterans face. the american legion and other service organizations have spoken to us about priorities for our veterans. the list is a long one. we have to establish priorities to get the job done. we planted the flag and said, "give us the problems. we have to find solutions. no more just talking about." i worked closely with the american legion as did other members of congress to create and agenda, our promise to you. that agenda included the gi bill of rights for the 21st century. when i became speaker, it is a
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wonderful thing, the gi bill. i will talk more on it in a moment. when i became speaker, this was my to do list. you continued to poke -- to push for action at our regular meetings at the speaker's office. we put forth a challenge, and the next meeting we wanted a report on it. as a result, together we made more progress over the last four years for our veterans and military families than has been made since the passage of the original g.i. bill in 1944. [applause] consider these accomplishments and take pride in them, because they would not have happened without the american legion. you said the the eight needed timely and reliable funding, what we call advanced appropriations. they would another budget in advance.
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that is now the law of the land. [applause] you said that veterans' health care was being left behind. we passed the latest increase in veteran funds, the largest increase in veterans' funding in history. that means that tens of thousands of new doctor and nurses, new clinics, and 300,000 modest income veterans receiving health care for the first time. [applause] that is something the american legion calls a cause for celebration. you said we needed to put an end to the disabled veterans tax, otherwise known as concurrent receipts. the house unanimously passed the release act last year. we are going to keep the
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pressure on the senate until it becomes the law of the land. we need your help to do that. [applause] you, the american legion, said veterans were facing enormous cost to travel to receive care. we would hear this from individual veterans as a travel the country. they would come and tell us about this. you have made it a priority. you have addressed this hardship, making changes to help deliver plans -- deliver care to war -- to our veterans live and more than quadrupling the compensation. you said members were being left behind in this economy. it is a tough economy. we passed the recovery act, which made billions of dollars of investments to provide jobs, tax cuts, and quality of life improvements directly for our troops and veterans, to alleviate the burden of this
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recession and to reduce the claims burden. you demanded action on behalf of our veterans, happen with after effects of agent orange. we passed more than $13 billion in disability compensation for the brave veterans who have suffered for too long. just this week, the obama administration took historic action, confirming there is a connection between agent orange and certain diseases, and allowing the va to provide compensation, health care, and overdue recognition too many. i want to say this about agent orange. when i was chair of the california democratic party i went to southern california to join a group of veterans who were on a hunger strike. i mostly wanted to tell them as a mother of five children not to
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do that. it is not good for your health. they were determined to call attention to the agent orange challenge that our veterans were facing. they were courageous. some of them were feeling the effects of their hunger. i told them at the time that my brother, who served in the military in texas, became a friend of dick gregory at the time there were at the same camp. dick gregory was there that day talking to the agent orange hunger strikers, telling them how to take care. he had been on hunger strikes before. my impressions from them of the desperation that they had, the sacrifices they had made for our country. i was particularly proud when we passed the agent orange legislation recently in congress. you said the gi bill, the
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former gi bill, a centerpiece of american prosperity, no longer kept pace with the times. with the american legion by our side, just as you were during the creation of the original g.i. bill, we passed the post 9/11 gi bill. we renew the promise of a four- year scholarship for our veterans. we have made it transferable to their spouses and children. [applause] it is very important to us. i know you know this. but i want to acknowledge it. it was the world war one veterans who knew they were not treated in a way that was worthy of their sacrifice, their courage, their patriotism. they fought for the world war two veterans. those passed before the war was over because of the insistence of the world war i vets, largely
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the american legion. here again, veterans of former all wars are looking out for those who serve our country in combat and otherwise. educating our nation's veterans is a cost of war. it is a promise we made to our troops for their courageous service to our country. we have rallies in washington to thank our troops. send them to college. over 300,000 veterans and their families have pursued a degree through this initiative, well over three of a cousin. take pride in that. it would not have happened without you. [applause] i am especially proud that the vast majority of our congress -- this was done with overwhelming bipartisan support. there should be no division when it comes to those who have worn
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our nation's uniform. [applause] when they surf and when they come home -- when they serve and when they come home. we have made remarkable progress working together. our work will not be complete until every american who has fought for our country abroad can find a job when they come home. we will put our veterans to work with our "make it in america" economic strategy. it is a patriotic action to say that we want to ensure our national security. our national security depends on our having a strong industrial, technological, manufacturing base. we can provide our troops with what they need. that is when they go to battle
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and when they train. but our manufacturing base has been eroding in our country. we are saying one way to correct that is to make it in america. [applause] not only to manufacture it in america, but to enable the american people and our veterans in particular to make it in america. it is a national security issue. in fact, by reference president eisenhower earlier. i was inspired by his presence in the capital, but also by his actions on this point. when he was president, there were very difficult economic times. he said in spite of that economy he made the decision
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that we would build the interstate highway system. where would the bunny come from? we hear this all the time. where would the money come from? we were in dire economic straits. the president said we were going forward because it is a national security issue for us to have the american people connected by an interstate highway system. not only that, it created an enormous amount of jobs. just think of where we would be if the country had not invested in that infrastructure at that time. it was a very courageous move by a very courageous president. we have a challenge now to rebuild our infrastructure, which will create jobs in america. our soldiers know -- all of our
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members who serve our country in uniform no that some of the reasons that we go off to war can be addressed by having a stronger america here. they know when they fight we promise them a future were the of their sacrifice. that future must provide economic opportunity for them and their families as they make it in america, build our infrastructure, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, clean up our air, make us technologically number one. we are number one. we are determined to be number one. the connection between our returning vets, job opportunities, preserving our industrial base, strengthening that base, building of infrastructure in america is the path of believed we must walk together so that everyone can make it in america, especially our veterans.
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[applause] our work will not be complete in our office. we have bill collins, the head of our wounded warriors initiative. what we do there is to hire wounded warriors on congressional staff. we are very proud of this initiative. it also serves as the model to others to hire our wounded war years when they come home. it is such a joy. democrats and republicans have wounded war years on their staff. it is a source of great pride. when our veterans visit our offices, they know there is someone who understands their needs. we also have a lieutenant colonel on our staff who is our liaison with the military. i can just see the two of them,
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the discipline, the patriotism, the values, the respect to our men and women in uniform when they are in battle and when they come home. our work will not be complete until there is no one homeless veteran on any street in this, the land of the free and the home of the brave. [applause] our work will not be complete until we have ended the with us tax. this has been a priority for our veterans service organizations. we have already made some progress and will keep working until those that died as a result of service injuries are no longer penalized, and receive the full benefits they rightly deserve. [applause] of our work will not be complete until we ensure that no veteran in need of care is ever turned away from va medical facility
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and no veteran is left to wade through red tape to settle their claim. we must make a renewed treatment -- a renewed commitment to treating ptsd. [applause] we will move forward, knowing that we will work with the american legion every step of the way. just last night, president obama made a strong statement at the oval office about the new chapter our nation has begun in iraq. our nation thinks those in uniform who have served in iraq and those who continue to bear the burden in service of our country, including approximately 100,000 troops in afghanistan. when the troops come home from iraq, we will show them our thanks in the grandest possible way. will show them our thanks by
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ensuring a smooth transition when they come home. we know the american legion will be a leading voice on behalf of these men and women in uniform. together, we will build a future worthy of their sacrifice. regardless of what you may have thought about going into the war, with separate the war and the warrior. we will welcome them home as the heroes they are. [applause] god bless them for all they do. god has certainly blessed them with their service to our country. our nation can never fully repay the debt it owes to the men and women who have warned our nation's uniform. for those who have answered the call to duty, there is no makeup date for missed birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations. we are in our troops were never forgetting their families. nearly 2 million children in
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america have at least one parent in the military. nearly 1 million children have seen multiple deployments. let me say this before i tell you this story. when we talk about the families, one of the owners of being speaker or even a member of congress -- every member has veterans as the top priority. we want to channel all of that enthusiasm into public policy, legislation to change public policy to make a difference in the lives of our vets. we say we will never forget. a number of years ago, i had the opportunity to visit north korea as part of air intelligence committee trip. very unusual. not many people go to north korea. the main issues we brought to the table there were we wanted them to stop developing missile
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technology, and perhaps selling it to other countries. but in relation to the families -- sometimes to think it comes as a surprise to some of these countries. very important to us was the issue of our mia's and pow's. commander hill talked about the korean war. his comment is -- every country has to know that if we are talking historically about former wars, or we are talking about what we are engaged in now, any thoughts to the future -- will never forget. we will always try to get the truth about our mia's and pow's. it was an honor to be able to speak on their behalf to the leadership of north korea. it is an issue that is bigger than any congressional visit. that is why we have those flags flying in the capital as well.
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we will never forget. in terms of not forgetting, i would like to tell you the story about one marine gunnery sgt. gunnery sergeant frye was a father serving in anwar province. after suffering injury, he was told he could go home with a bronze star. he volunteered to stay and surf. he said he wanted to protect his fellow marines. he defused nearly 100 bombs during his time in iraq. the last bomb took his life. the scholarship legislation passed by congress, named for him, promises the children of those killed since december 10, 2001 will receive the gi bill
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benefits their parents aren't. that was not part of the original bill. we use the model from before. we had to pass special legislation. chet edwards was instrumental on this special legislation. if a service person dies, the opportunity still exists. david frye has three children who will be able to go to college because of their father's service and sacrifice. so will the children of so many who lost a parent in the war. we pass this legislation with the american legion by our side. take pride in all of this. it could not have happened without you. you are our strongest voice on behalf of patriotism and honor. you understand the need to continue devotion to those who are so devoted to our nation
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that they served in the military. i can never repay their sacrifice. we as a country cannot repay their sacrifice. but we can and must honor the patriotism, courage, and service of all of our men and women in uniform. because of view, because of you we honor the land of the free and the home of the brave. just as our troops pledged to leave no one behind on the battlefield, we say we will leave no veteran behind when they come home. [applause] god bless the american legion. god bless our veterans. god bless our troops and their families. god bless america. thank you for the honor of presenting my views to you today. thank you, legionnaires.
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[applause] [march music] >> thank you very much. i am pleased that speaker policy could be with us today. think you very much for your remarks. i would like to think commander clarence hill for the opportunity to be with you this morning, for the current introduction, and for his strong leadership. you have done a fine job did not only leading the american legion. i would also like to thank you for a career that has spanned the globe on the high seas. you have a career that has been
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well lived. i would also like to express my appreciation for the national president of the american legion auxiliary. i would like to think the past presidents of the auxiliary who are with us today. i want to compliment you on your 90th anniversary of service for veterans, god, and country. i would also like to acknowledge the hoosiers who are in the room today, and my special guest, a former childhood friend i grew up with on the tippecanoe river. both went on to follow their father's footsteps. he was a veteran of world war two and normandie. they serve careers in the united states navy. jim is a past national commander of north carolina. he is with me on the podium today. i am pleased about that. it gives me great pleasure to be
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here to address you today. what i plan to do is i am going to behave and follow one-third of my prepared remarks. given that i am a retiring member, a plan to be very candid, not only about congress about some legislation and about how i counseled the nation. then i will step aside. i truly am pleased to call all of you not only my comrades but also a fellow legionnaires. i am aware of your pride. i live your pride. not only your service to country, but also the legacy of service for which you are acknowledge. i am a life member of the american legion in indiana. [applause] my lifelong involvement with the american legion starts as early as i can remember, cleaning
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tables and washing dishes, drying pots and pans after the ladies washed them. i know about the tough duties of the legion auxiliary. they make you all look good. i was that snotnosed brat that would wander into the alleyway where all the smoke was when you guys were frying burgers in tenderloins. you were drinking things out of cans that i had no permission to touch. you would always shoot me back inside with the ladies so i could continue to dry and clean tables. i remember all that. some of you here also remember that. my great-grandfather, a veteran of world war one -- his name is inscribed on the wall at the world war one memorial on the mall in indianapolis, next to the legion headquarters.
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he went on to be a commander of his legion post. he inspired his son to go to culver and to military school in indiana. then he went to the citadel for four years. my father chose not to go on active duty after eight years in the military. he wanted to be a dentist. what happened in the summer of 1950? he was drafted as a recruit into korea. my father went and served the nation, even though he had eight years of military experience in the enlisted ranks. my brother and i are the proud sons of an army sergeant. never did i hear my father say i could have been officer. he did what many do in this nation of ours. you answer your call to service. you serve. you do your duty. you go home. you raise your family. you raise your family.

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